Modernization Plan Helps DOD Maintain Military Readiness

Article excerpt

Master Sergeant Stephen Barrett, USA

American Forces Press Service

DOD's modernization plans will upgrade military readiness while supporting efforts to balance the federal budget, Deputy Defense Secretary John P. White said. Speaking before the Navy League Sea-Air-Space Extension, White said what counts is how DOD spends its money on modernization, not how much. He said DOD is building the nation's defense on both fiscal and national security realities.

"Gone are the days when anybody could seriously propose to increase defense spending, cut taxes and balance the budget all at the same time," said White. "Today, deficit reduction has taken precedence, and the administration and Congress have agreed to balance the budget in seven years. Rather than simply asking for more money, we are spending our money more efficiently and effectively and passing the savings on to modernization."

During the US forces drawdown, DOD maintained modern equipment despite low procurement levels by weeding out older equipment. Now that the drawdown has ended, the modernization reprieve is over. White noted that DOD's budget request includes a new equipment procurement program that starts at nearly $39 billion in fiscal 1997 and increases steadily to a total of more than $250 billion over the next five years.

While maintaining fiscal responsibility, DOD's modernization plan will preserve the US military's land, sea and air dominance. DOD will accomplish this through four technology strategies by:

* Emphasizing "leap-ahead" technology for new warfighting capabilities, such as the joint strike fighter, attack submarine, F/A-18E and F/A-18F fighter-bombers, V-22 Osprey vertical-landing transport aircraft and RAH-66 Comanche reconnaissanceattack helicopter. …